Kissa Kursi Ka
Curtains have finally come down in the long-drawn ‘kissa kursi ka’ nauseating drama in Karnataka. BS Yediyuruppa (earlier Yedyurappa) took over the top seat as Chief Minister for the fourth time, having been sworn in on Friday evening. There is much jubilation in the State BJP camp as he did manage to dislodge the Congress-JD(S) government in just 14 months. But the wait perhaps may seem long for the Lingayat leader, as he had missed his first opportunity at the very start after the Assembly elections last year. Will he be cautious this time even though he has got another crack at power and be able to serve a full term, unlike the past? And will this be the final swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan, given it’s the third? Nagging questions, alright. But the most critical one is: will he be able to cobble up the numbers for the floor test in the House and, if so, how soon? Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar has disqualified three rebel Congress MLAs so far under the anti-defection law and said he would take a couple of days to decide about the others. Guess it should be good enough for the Chief Minister to accommodate the rebels. But he must remember the adage ‘there can be many a slip between the cup and the lip,’ and the next few days are critical. The suspense unfortunately is yet not over.
MP Does Tit-For-Tat
Madhya Pradesh does a tit-for-tat. Just 24 hours after the BJP toppled the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka, the Congress-led coalition government in the State hit back with a vengeance. Though Chief Minister Kamal Nath didn’t have to prove his majority in the House, he did manage to get two BJP MLAs to cross over and vote along with it on an amendment Bill. And this ironically after Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargav had claimed he could bring down the government as soon as he gets the signal from Delhi! The ruling coalition has 120 MLAs and the voting showed 122 in favour of the Bill, sending the BJP, with 108 MLAs, into a tizzy and vociferously protesting that the voting was rigged as no MLAs had crossed over. Nath of course had the last laugh as the two BJP MLAs not only openly said they had voted along with Congress but soon after were seen sitting with the CM.
Emboldened, he has thrown a challenge at the BJP saying come with a no-confidence motion, for “what happened today is not just voting in favour of one Bill, but to prove our majority”.
How soon will the BJP take to respond, is anybody’s guess.
BJP’s Mizo Challenge
Mizoram is BJP’s next big challenge. So far it has simply failed to make forays into this north-eastern State. But the party leadership as is known never says die. Therefore, its State unit has come up with a brilliant idea i.e. set up a Christian missionary cell within. It is reported the plan got the nod last week and the cell will be headed by popular Lalhriatrenga Chhangte, the State’s first mining engineer, who though had refused the BJP ticket this General election. With the proposed cell, the party hopes to gain on two counts: One, increase its footprint among the Christian-majority population, which it shall try by offering help to churches/missionaries. Two, change the BJP’s image of ‘a communal party’, which got it only one seat of the 39 seats it fought in last November 40-member Assembly election. Besides, the Mizo National Front (MNF), a part of NDA started keeping distance to safeguard its poll prospects. CM Zoramthanga couldn’t have put it better: “I always say, when your wife is in good health, why look for a girlfriend. No need.” So, will the missionaries step in for BJP?
Andhra Pradesh has been bitten by the reservation bug, but of a different kind. On Wednesday last, its Assembly passed a Bill to impose 75% quota in private industrial jobs for locals. The first such step ever taken has got the industry worried. In a reaction it has warned that it will be ‘regressive and hurtful to investments.’ But Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy is firm and chooses to prove them wrong. He proposes the State will set up skill development centres, which will help locals gain jobs with the industry which in turn will get skilled labour. And his message to the industrialists is simple: ‘you should take care of the locals who had given up land for development of industries and should increase the perimeter as and when the scale of industry increases.” Further, the government said it won’t act rigidly on quota and is willing to ‘consider giving waivers and relaxations if investors find it difficult to hire the required talent.” The industry conglomerate is not convinced. Reddy would need to answer the big question raised: “Why would anyone invest in AP now when there are other States available with proactive and investor-friendly policies?” Time will tell.
Bangla Not WB
West Bengal doesn’t want to be known by this name. On Wednesday last, a 12-member delegation of ruling Trinamool Congress MPs met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to do something about their long-pending demand—the State be called Bangla instead. Their reasoning, as voiced in Rajya Sabha during Zero Hour was: “no geographical territory ever existed officially to be known as East Bengal and that the word Bangla or the territory called Bangla is believed to have been derived from Banga, a Dravidian tribe, which settled in the region 1000 BC.” Besides, it was pointed out that even after Partition, following the Radcliffe Commission award the eastern districts of Bengal became East Pakistan, which later became an independent country of Bangladesh. So, there is need for an amendment. Sooner the better, as the request has been hanging fire for a year now since the State Assembly passed a resolution recommending name change. Will Modi oblige?
Odisha’s Crorepati Teacher
Want to get a lesson or two on how to become a crorepati? Then turn to a former government teacher in one of the poorest districts of Odisha, Nabarangpur. But, be prepared not to be able to enjoy the wealth at the end of the day, like him. On Thursday last S K Choudhury, a former assistant teacher at Mundagada Project Upper Primary School, who had then drawn a monthly salary of Rs 25,000, was booked by Vigilance department for amassing assets worth Rs 6.5 crore in just 14 years of his service! Apparently, he may have made the money as a service provider for the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), by doctoring documents. Other than finding out the modus operandi, the anti-corruption officers are busy investigating the total assets. These certainly would go up as they have laid their hands on an agreement of constructing a petrol pump in Nabarangpur. So far their probe has lists a four-storied building, four double-storied buildings, 23 patches of land, two cars, and some gold jewellery—most in the name of his wife! It was only last month that he took VRS after working in the school since 2005. Obviously, with that kind of wealth, it would be best to retire to enjoy it. Sadly, not behind bars. —(INFA)